Phyical, Spiritual & Sexual Abuse Workshop Transcript #3 (of 4)

Transcript for Session #1
Transcript for Session #2
member #1 member #2 would you like to open us in prayer today?

member #2 sure
Gracious God
thank You for Divora and her willingness to share her journey with us
we are not made to struggle alone
and CIR helps with that so much
bless this time together
may we leave here with more than we came with
in Your name

DvoraElisheva Today’s workshop has been the most difficult for me to prepare because it touches on some of my most painful memories and issues. You see, it is hard to find hope when, in the process of seeking healing, we find ourselves on unexpected pathways and we have been betrayed by people we trusted, or it FEELS like God has betrayed us. When it comes to abuse and recovery, there is nothing that can be more damaging than betrayal, and betrayal comes in many shapes and sizes.

Have you ever felt betrayed? If your answer is yes, how did it make you feel?

member #3_ Ugly

member #1 yes. less than worthy

member #4 invisible?

member #5 like I didn’t matter

DvoraElisheva I think it is the most painful thing we have to deal with. Sadly, it is not just a part of abuse… it happens in our lives in many different ways
I’d like to share an experience with you.

I will never forget when there was a major misunderstanding between myself and the leadership of my church. I asked God to defend me. From my perspective He didn’t. I was angry and demanded a meeting with the elders. I wrote a 10 page paper outlining scripturally why I felt they were wrong in their response to me. It didn’t change anything though, and the result of this misunderstanding was that I was no longer allowed to teach the children in our church. Afterward, one of the elders came to me and said, “Debbie, I think it is highly possible that you are right. The truth is, this is relating to a topic that is very difficult for us to deal with. I hope you can forgive us.” Man was I angry.

I didn’t write about this incident in my book because I did not want to hurt or offend the people involved. But there is a bigger reason. Back then I felt betrayed—betrayed by them and betrayed by God. But with the blessing of hindsight, this incident led to several things:
1. I had more free time, and so when I was asked to also teach the children in the Chinese church I had the time, and began teaching children between the ages of 4 and 12, with an assistant so that lessons could be done in Hebrew, English, Mandarin, and sometimes Cantonese!

2. Because of my work with the children, I was accepted in a unique program to do my BA in special education through distance learning, and through that, I gained the qualifications to do my MA in Technical Communication which has been my main job for over 20 years now. Through my work, I’ve had amazing doors opened to share the gospel with people who otherwise would not have heard at all!

3. Because of my inability to handle my anger, a major crack in my veneer appeared, which eventually led to my seeking counselling for dissociation.

You see, I THOUGHT God had betrayed me, but He had actually done something far greater. Did my Elders make a mistake? Yes. Was I hurt? Yes. But God took that whole situation and worked it out for a far greater good than I could have asked for or imagined.

I’m still amazed when I look back…

You see, I THOUGHT God had betrayed me, but He had actually done something far greater. Did my Elders make a mistake? Yes. Was I hurt? Yes. But God took that whole situation and worked it out for a far greater good than I could have asked for or imagined.

Those were years where I had to grapple with Romans 8:28 in a big way. Let’s read it together:

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

Have any of you struggled with this verse?

member #3_ Oh yes

member #2 nods ..for sure

member #1 yes

member #5 of course

DvoraElisheva For me, there were many things that happened, that had me wondering how that situation could ever work for good. I didn’t use these exact words, but looking back, I see now that I truly thought that God had betrayed me.

There are some things that I’ve been afraid to admit. While I know I won’t get struck by lightning, I know plenty of believers who feel I shouldn’t feel a certain way. I can just hear them now, if they were to know, that I have felt like God betrayed me.

Has anyone else struggled with this feeling or am I the only one?

member #3_ Btdt feeling

member #1 relate

member #4 yes me too

member #5 yes

DvoraElisheva Fortunately, FEELING is different from KNOWING and all too often our recovery gets “hacked” by what we feel, despite what we know.
I’m sure you also understand this

member #3_ YES

DvoraElisheva Romans 8:28 should be a verse that comforts and assures us. However, all too often it is misquoted: “All things work together for good.” I hear this a lot, even amongst nonbelievers. It would be nice if this was true, but do you remember last week, we talked about cooperating with God?

Well, this verse requires GREAT cooperation with God for it to be valid in our lives. When that happens, we can have great hope. But if we cling to just half of this verse, we run into some problems. So lets look at it more closely.

1. We need to be honest in our definition of ALL—this includes the good and the bad—our recovery, our setbacks, even sin—our sin and the sins of others against us (remember Joseph?)! We must remind ourselves: it is GOD’s job to make it all work together—not ours. What do you think of this?

member #4 I agree

member #3_ Yes Gods job

member #2 i agree with it

member #1 yes

DvoraElisheva 2. We need to define “good.” Does that mean a good life? Or does it mean for God’s good purposes in our lives, which ultimately involves our eternal destination—heaven and our ultimate glorification (v30)? John McArthur writes: “…nothing can happen to you in this life, not a single event, not an accumulation of events, nothing can happen to you in this life that can change your future glory.” What does this mean to you?

member #5 agree. God’s good purposes

member #3_ Yes

member #1 yes

DvoraElisheva Yup. It is MOST comforting to me to remember that this life is NOT the end of the story.

member #2 God will never let go of my hand and heart

DvoraElisheva Exactly.
Next, we need to look at the conditional statements of this verse . There are two conditions: one on our side and one on God’s side.
1. We must be lovers of God. And Jesus made it very clear that if someone claims to love God but hates Jesus… they are not really lovers of God. John 8:42 reads: John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. Expressing our love for God is a lesson in itself. Briefly though, it includes hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and having a relationship with Him that reflects His life in us.

How else do we express our love for God?

member #4 obeying his commands

member #1 obedience, love

member #4 yesloving God and other people

member #3_ Loving others( which can be different from serving )

DvoraElisheva o yes!

any other thoughts?

member #2 expressing the “one to anothers” to others

DvoraElisheva Yeah, I think I get it 🙂

2. Next, the people for whom all things work for good MUST be called according to God’s purpose. Those whom He called are DEFINED in verses 29–30. Rom. 8:29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

Again, this could be a whole workshop, but briefly, it is BECAUSE He has loved us and called us that we are ABLE to love Him. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord, and Savior, you are called by Him.

I hope that each of you here or reading the transcript have this assurance. If not, feel free to contact member #1, member #3, or myself to discuss this more deeply.

Do you have any other thoughts before I continue?

member #4 loving God we know understand he fist loved us

DvoraElisheva Very important… especially when we feel our love is small.

member #4 yes

member #3_ yes

DvoraElisheva So as you see, Understanding this verse can help us get through what some call “the dark night of the soul.” King David called it the “valley of the shadow of death.” Jesus faced this when He was betrayed with a kiss.

Underneath it all, is a simple question—is God really good, really?

In your notebooks, I’d like you to write down the first thing that comes to mind for you when you wonder if something will really work for good in your life. Let me know when you are done.

You do not need to share this thing with us, unless you want to. However, what I’d like to ask you to share with us, is when you consider this thing, how do you FEEL?

member #3_ left.

member #5 well, it doesn’t m matter how I feel, What matters is the fact that God loves me.

member #4 ashamed or small

member #3_ joined.

member #5 my feelings are wrong a lot of the time

member #3_ Relates
My whole being was wrong

DvoraElisheva member #5, this is true, and your feelings may be wrong… but they are there, and sometimes they can really disrupt how we handle things. Especially if we feel betrayed.

member #4 unacceptable

member #4 disqualified

member #2 feelings aren’t right or wrong ..they just are’s what we do with them that’s a choice

DvoraElisheva also true…
Let’s be honest. When we FEEL this way, when the world is hammering on our souls, when memories, and the deeds of others hurt beyond imagining, and then it happens yet again, we can question God’s love and goodness. Again, I don’t know about you, but this has happened to me more than once. Every single time, I’ve been faced with the same choices, 1) to keep following Jesus or to leave Him; and 2) to keep demanding what I want, or to say—not my will, but Yours be done.

member #3_ yes

member #2 yes

member #1 yes

member #5 agree

DvoraElisheva If you’ve read my book, then you know I was faced with these decisions over and over again. Each issue I dealt with seemed bad… but I suppose you could say the climax came when God gave me the longing of my heart and at the age of 52 I married for the first time. Shortly after I turned 55, and 3 years and 6 days after our spiritual wedding in Israel, my husband died.

I didn’t use these exact words in my book, but after my husband’s death, part of what I felt was betrayed by God. Why did God lead me to marry someone whom He would take from me so quickly, and what is left to want when I’ve received all I wanted—and had it taken away?

Throughout my life, two images have carried me through. During my time in therapy, as I began to uncover the layers of my life and revisit buried memories, I also felt like God had betrayed me. How could he let me go through these things? Where was He? The answer that He was there with me, suffering with me, didn’t really help. Nor did the knowledge of His love for me.

So what did?

I remembered the darkness I felt the first time I’d tried to leave Jesus after I first came to Israel. If you’ve read my book, you know that God used a Rabbi of all people, to get my eyes back on Jesus. But the other thing that helped me was not a thing, but a who: Peter—the Apostle. (You already know I love Peter from last week’s workshop).

In John 6, Jesus gives a very difficult teaching to those who followed Him. Let’s read verses 66-69.

66 From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. 67 Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!”

Picture this scene. What was Peter thinking to give this kind of an answer? For me, the clue is when he says, “Lord, who will we go to?” Other translations say, “Where else can we go?” He thought about it. He considered leaving. He checked His options. Following Jesus was NOT easy. But Jesus alone has the words of eternal life.

Like Peter, I considered my options. Quite honestly, NO ONE has been able to come close to offering me what Jesus offers. And so, no, I do not want to leave Him. Others may leave Him, but I can’t. I just can’t.

The other passage that encouraged me, particularly when my husband died, was Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He begged His father to remove the cup of suffering from Him. Jesus knew that what lay ahead would be worse than He in His humanity could comprehend. Just like losing my husband was beyond comprehension. It made no sense to me. How could God ask me to give up so much to marry Rich, only to take him from me?

member #3_ YES

DvoraElisheva Like Jesus, in my humanity, it hurt too much. Please don’t let me go through this.

For some of you, it may not be the death of the loved one. But it could be the death of a cherished hope such as your abuser finally admitting their guilt; or that you would finally be done with the memories, and then another one comes up; or you’ve been doing fine, and then a close friend hurts you, or you lost a job… or got a bad diagnosis from the doctor.

Your heart cries out ‘NO, I can’t deal with this. Please God, NO.” With Jesus, we fall on our knees, and weep, and finally He gives us the courage to say the same prayer, “But Lord, not my will, yours be done.”

It all comes down to this. We know in our heads that “For the JOY set before Him, Christ endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2).

Do you believe this for you? Do you believe in the resurrection? Do you REALLY believe God has joy set before you as well?

member #3_ YES. Now I do

member #1 yes

DvoraElisheva Praise God 🙂

member #5 yes
its just in the mean time that is the problem. Enduring. enduring the pain

DvoraElisheva Oh yea… member #5… stay on the ladder and endure 🙂

member #4 God is good

DvoraElisheva For those reading this transcript, it’s OK, to say no. This is not about condemnation, it’s about honesty. Because if you have trouble believing, there have been, and still are times that I struggle with believing. That is when I fall into His word, and just cling—I still won’t leave. Only YOU have the words of truth.

member #3_ We know what the Word says about endurance

DvoraElisheva Can you quote the verse?

member #4 consdier it joy when you suffer hardship
and trials of all kinds
becaue you know that the estting of your faith produces perseverence

DvoraElisheva Yes, exactly! James 1:3-4

member #4 and perseverence hope?

DvoraElisheva That is a different verse… but that too

member #4 right

DvoraElisheva I’d like to share something with you that happened, just this morning. I was not really praying… but the Lord knows there are some fears I’ve been struggling with. I happened upon a news report that left me weeping.

Briefly, it was about how complete strangers stepped in to meet the urgent need of a family with very real and agonizing needs.

As I watched this family respond to receiving help BEYOND AND ABOVE anything they themselves had hoped for, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart: If this is how people can treat other people, how much more do I love you? How much more will I meet your need? How much more am I here with you to lead and guide. How much more? (You don’t need to watch now, but here is the link if you are interested:

There are some things we may never understand on this earth. The world tells us we need to know… but all we really need to know is Jesus. The more we know Him, the more we are able to work through our issues; battle our addictions; and walk through what He allows to occur in our lives. And HOW MUCH MORE He loves YOU than anyone else in this world can love us. Be assured of this.

member #3_ Amen

DvoraElisheva As I consider these things, you recall I had shared that betryal comes in many shapes and forms.
One of the ways it can appear, is through grief.
Most people think of grief as only relating to death, or a major death…
But if we stop to think about death, God never intended for us to die.
Death was never supposed to be part of our reality.

member #3_ yes

DvoraElisheva So in a very real way, the death that comes through sin, and again, not just physical death, but the death of dreams, also leaves us with similar feelings to betrayal.
But sometimes even more lost.
We go to school, we learn how to study, to read, to write, eventually to get a job, but NO ONE teaches us how to die!
You loose your job–that is not just a betrayal, it is a death.
A death of a salary. A death of plans, and all to often, a death of relationships lost…

A friend of mine had cancer of the lung. She shared that it took her a YEAR to BEGIN to work through the grief of losing her lung–her body had betrayed her.

member #4 understand betrayalsome

DvoraElisheva Exactly… but it is also grappling with our feelings. Why? They CAN be neutral, but I would argue that feelings are also crucial indicators of spiritual, emotional, or mental pain.

member #2 yes

DvoraElisheva Just like ignoring physical pain can be bad for our health, ignoring our feelings can be bad for our healing and spiritual growth.

member #3_ yes

member #2 agrees

DvoraElisheva Ultimately, we cannot let our feelings RULE us, but we MUST be in contact with them and aware of the message they are trying to get through to us.

member #4 yes pain

DvoraElisheva I’d love to hear what all of you think about this, and about how we can use Romans 8:28 to find hope in betrayal and grief.

member #3_ David ,A man after Gods own heart, spoke about even those closest to me o Are against me
So grief will come, throughout our entire lives, in various ways
God never changes (done)

member #4 loss of my dream acutally my mom who is now gone planted inspired in me
the hope that my family of origin could in fact love me and be there for me and me for them done

DvoraElisheva That’s a hard one…
How has God worked this for good in your life?

member #3_ Yes

member #4 I m not sure I feel sad that Im not on their radar to think about done
emotional hurt or pain of that

DvoraElisheva you remind me of something.
Today, a friend of mine and I were talking.
She was amazed as we shared, and saw that I truly have forgiven my mother, my grandmoter who abused me, and the person who molested me.
Yet in forgiving, I’m set free… but then I realized, they are dead. It was easier I think, though it took years, to forgive them because there was no potential for a continued relationship.
When those people are still alive, it is harder to work through and see the blessing.

member #3_ yes

member #1 agree

DvoraElisheva This is where you cling to God’s word and not the feeling. You admit the pain — it is real. It hurts. But you KNOW God has promised you that He will work ALL things for good. For all you know, He may be using your prayers to save them and you may only see that in heaven. But GOD is faithful.

Have any of you heard of a man called “Praying Hyde?”
He was a great man of prayer, I believe in the 1800s…
There is a story about him praying for 7 friends from university to accept Jesus. He pleaded with God and stood on scripture and testified that he KNEW all 7 would be saved. God had promised him this.
When he died, only 6 of his friends had been saved.
The 7th was saved at his funeral…
If YOU love the Lord (and you do) and IF you are called by God (and you are if you belong to Jesus): Then ALL things work for good… the how and when is in His hands.
The pain, we give to Him seeking His healing. He will transform it. I don’t know when or how. I can’t promise you there won’t be scars (Jesus will have His scars through eterning)… but what I can promise is God is faithful. He will take everything, including others sin against us, and use it for good.
If I had never been abused by my grandmother, I would not have a physical problem I battle with. But if I had not gone through God’s work in my life because of that situation, I would most likely never have written my book! And I might not be here now sharing.

member #1 yes!

DvoraElisheva I’d like to pray… and then I am free to stay around for as much discussion as you would like. Would that be OK with you?

Our Precious Savior Jesus,
You have gone through so much for us. You lived for us, you died for us, and you were raised from the dead, so that we could have new life in You. We are being honest before you Jesus. Some of us are so broken. Sometimes we feel like quitting. The things that have happened in our lives are so hard to understand. We really don’t understand why you allowed them to happen.

But Jesus, we have looked around. The world offers bare survival. We are surrounded by new and more modern ways to escape and nothing points to life. Jesus, You alone have the words of life. Help us to cling to Your words. Help us to trust You. Help us to accept Your will, and where we have doubt, give us faith, because faith is also Your gift to us.
Lord Jesus, we love You, and we know that proves that You have called us to yourself. We trust You to work EVERYTHING in our lives for our best good and for your glory. And we thank You, that while we may feel You have turned on us, Your word assures us, You are with us always—to the ends of the earth.

Thank You for your eternal love for us. Thank You for being our righteousness. Lord Jesus, we believe You, we trust in Your goodness, and give ourselves anew to You. Amen.

member #2 amen..AMEN

member #3_ AMEN

member #1 Amen

member #5 amen

Excellent meeting again, thank you Dvora

member #1 wonderful workshop Dvora!!!!!
I learned so much today

member #4 yes ty

member #2 ty dvora

member #1 and look forward to next week

DvoraElisheva Thank you… God is good,

Transcript for Session #1
Transcript for Session #2